Pastor’s Corner: Silent Night

This coming Saturday, in the fading light of evening, we will celebrate the birth of Jesus in a way I deeply treasure. Holding candles, we will pass the flame from wick to wick until the sanctuary glows with the softly flickering lights. In that sweet radiance, we will gently raise the lovely lyrics of “Silent Night.”

Most know the story, I think, about the composition of the song. Pastor Joseph Mohr brought the lyrics to Franz Gruber, a teacher and musician, to be set to music for guitar. According to legend, the organ at the Parish of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf, Germany, had broken down, so they needed something to sing which did not require the grandeur of bellows, pipes, and reeds. Ten months after Henry Opukaha’ia died and two years before those he inspired would reach his homeland in Hawai’i, the tune floated over the snow in an Alpine village, on its way to sail over the entire world.

I can’t help thinking, though, that silence was probably a rare thing the night Jesus was born.

Birth itself is a very noisy occasion, with mothers, midwives, and anxious fathers all contributing their decibels. The cry of the newborn comes as a great relief (“What great lungs he has!”), and if it is quickly settled by a mother’s embrace, it rises again (more than once) as the night goes on. New parents, their systems flooded with joy, fear, and pure adrenaline, may find sleep elusive.

In addition to these ever-present realities, Mary and Joseph faced sharing their nursery with animals, some of whom no doubt contributed to the noises of the night. At some point, a group of shepherds arrived to wake everyone (if they had slept at all) with stories of angels. If they didn’t wake the baby, I’m sure that dampness in the swaddling clothes did.

To Mary and Joseph, “Silent Night” would not have been a description. It would have been a fervent prayer.

For their sake, I hope there was a moment or two when the baby slept, and the parents could appreciate the wonder of that tiny face. For their sake, I hope that in those moments they could wonder also at the particular miracle of that child’s incarnation as told them by angels and shepherds. For their sake, I hope that in those moments Mary and Joseph found the opportunity to treasure and ponder the saving splendor of her son.

For our sake, I hope that “Silent Night” comes in response to your prayers. For our sake, I hope you can appreciate the wonder of each newborn face that appears in the human family. For our sake, I hope that you find the quiet to wonder at Emmanuel, “God with us” emerging into the world to angels’ song. For our sake, I hope that you find the opportunity to treasure and ponder the saving splendor of Jesus Christ.

As we pass the candlelight on Christmas Eve, may we also pass the heart-light of Christ. May we know the blessings of a Silent Night.

Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy to you,

Pastor Eric

Photo is by Andrew Fogg; used by permission under Creative Commons license.

Categories Pastor's Corner Reflections | Tags: , | Posted on December 21, 2016

Social Networks: RSS Facebook Twitter Google Stumble Upon Digg Reddit

Leave a Reply

close window

Service Times & Directions

Sunday School Classes

Sunday 8:45 am

Sunday Worship Service

Sunday 10:00 am

Adult Bible Study

Monday 6:30 pm, Wednesday 9:00 am

(International Young Adults Association)
Bible Study

Wednesday 7:30 pm

The Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga

(The Rev. Tevita) Sunday 1:00 pm Wednesday 7:00 pm (Sanctuary)

The United Church of Christ, Pohnpei - Hilo

(The Rev. Ichiro) Sunday 10:00 am (Bdg. of Faith)

The Samoan Church

(The Rev. Sunia) Sunday 4:00 pm (Sanctuary)

440 W. Lanikaula Street
Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 935-1283